Special Message from Ritchie Johnson

I began dating Ashley (my wife of almost 15 years) just before she graduated high school in 1996. Not too long after the birth of this young relationship, she told me that she was going out of town for 2 weeks to go to “bootcamp.” Now for a young man who had no knowledge of Precept Ministries, the thought of bootcamp and Ashley seemed quite odd! Well, as you probably know, she was coming to Precept’s bootcamp that summer.

Ashley and I were married in the summer of 1998, and about six months later found ourselves on a retreat where the student ministry directors David and BJ Lawson were teaching inductive Bible study. The retreat was a chance for David and BJ to reconnect with Ashley (after 5 years of student events as a teen) and to meet me. We were invited to apply to staff bootcamp in 1999 and so, Ashley and I spent our first anniversary (with many more to follow) at staff orientation for camp.

I think Ashley and I staffed just about every camp and on campus conference, as well as quite a few off campus events, from 1999 to 2003. During this time, David and BJ really invested in us as well as others in the student ministry leadership team. We learned to study and lead, and I was given opportunities to teach from the platform as well, something I feel equipped and called to do. In 2004 I accepted a full-time youth ministry position, so I resigned my teaching job and we left the Chattanooga area. We stayed in contact with the ministry though, doing inductive studies in our small groups with youth and bringing groups to December Student Conference each year.

Sometime during the third year of my youth ministry position, a transition happened in the Transform Student leadership. David and BJ took another role in the ministry, and Precept began the search for new leadership. I was aware of the search, but honestly didn’t think too much about it because of my youth and relative inexperience. That’s when David called and asked me to talk. When I told Ashley who had called her first response was “we’re going to have to move again aren’t we?”

I began this role in March of 2007, and we’ve participated in six years of conferences, bootcamps, and many local church events since that point. We’ve produced a handful of student materials, revived the student intern program, and worked to inspire a new generation to be established in God’s Word. And now God wants to do a new thing, in my family and in Transform.

I’ll be starting in a full-time pastoral position at our home church, Calvary Chapel Chattanooga, on January 1st. God has made it evident that He desires my family to be disciplemakers in the local church setting again, and we are excited about that. We’ve always loved the local church and hope the ministry of Transform has well fulfilled the role of a parachurch ministry in supporting the work of the local church during my leadership.

In the meantime, Brooke Ritterbush will assume the responsibilities as the acting director of Transform on an interim basis. Brooke has been a part of the student ministry for nearly 10 years, and is extremely well qualified to handle the day-to-day operation of the student ministry. Ryan Thomason and Carlotta Gillespie, both former interns, are now on staff with Precept and are teaming with Brooke to ensure that Transform has the necessary resources to continue the work that God has prepared. Precept remains committed to student ministry and if you don’t believe it, just ask Kay (our biggest fan J)! David Arthur (our CEO) and Tom Hall (our COO) are providing leadership in the future direction of the student ministry.

I wrote this blog to inform you, to reassure you, and so that you would know how to pray. For several years now, we’ve asked you to pray and many of you have responded. I also want you to know how grateful I am personally to so many: students, staff, youth leaders, parents, and Precept leaders. It’s been a great honor to serve you and serve with you!

Blessings,

Ritchie Johnson

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5 Responses

12.26.12

I think I am literally going to cry. :( Your family will be sorely missed around campus! You have been a HUGE blessing to me personally, and I know to the whole of the ministry. Blessings on your new journey. :)

12.26.12

We know you will be sorely missed at Precept Ministries, but also know you will be welcomed on staff at Calvary Chapel Chattanooga with open arms! We are so looking forward to your sweet family bringing hearts for Jesus to share with us. What a blessing it is for CCC!!

12.26.12

Thanks for your obedience to God’s Word and the guidance you have given our children. As a Precept student of many years, I know the lasting effect of a life rooted in God’s Truths. I am grateful for a minister and a ministry that allowed a place for my son, Bryan Dobbs, to feel comfortable and encouraged in his studies. May God continue to bless you and you help others to become established in the Scriptures.

In His grace,
Kim Dobbs

12.26.12

Ritchie: you’re an encouragement to us all.

Brooke: you got this. =)

12.26.12

[…] For the past 5 months, life in the Transform Student Ministries office has been one of much transition. If you didn’t see our announcement in December about the new stuff God has been up to with Ritchie Johnson, his family, and Transform check out this blog here. […]

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